Health blog

Can you elevate an injury too much?

February 19th, 2023
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Yes, it is possible to elevate an injury too much. Elevation is a technique commonly used to treat many musculoskeletal injuries ranging from foot fractures to tendinitis in your knees. Elevating injuries in your legs or arms can encourage blood flow to inflamed tissue and reduce swelling. The benefits of elevation can make it a valuable asset to your treatment plan. 

However, elevating your injured area too high or for too long can have several consequences. Thankfully, physical therapists can help you determine the appropriate elevation height for you and your injury. They can also help you learn how long to elevate your injury at one time. Even better, a physical therapist can offer effective treatment options that go beyond elevation.

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Why are you elevating your injury in the first place?

Elevating your injury above your heart for at least 15 minutes can have several health benefits, including promoting: 

When should you avoid elevating an injury too much?

Despite all its benefits, elevation can also come with many dangers depending on your preexisting condition. Elevating your injury for long periods of time can be especially risky if you have certain heart conditions or blood pressure issues. This is mainly because elevating your injury can lower your blood pressure and decrease the rate of blood flow throughout your body. As a result, some conditions can actually worsen with prolonged elevation. Those conditions can include: 

If you have any of the above conditions or any conditions related to them, it is important that you speak to your doctor before you attempt to elevate your injury for a long period of time. The benefits of injury elevation can be numerous, but the potential dangers can also outweigh them if you are at high risk. 

What can you do to make sure you’re not elevating your injury too much?

If you’re concerned that you might be elevating your injury too much, there are several ways you can ensure that you’re elevating your injury safely and effectively. You can follow the following steps to protect your injury while encouraging it to heal: 

  • Listen to your body.

The way in which your body reacts while you elevate your injury can tell you a lot about its limitations. For example, if you elevate your legs for 30 minutes at a time and feel an uncomfortable tingling sensation, you may need to decrease the amount of time you are elevating them. You should also know your medical history and understand that your medical condition may cause elevation to increase your heart rate or make you dizzy. 

  • Find the best angle to elevate your injury.

    The symptoms of your injury can worsen if the angle of your elevation is too intense. For example, a study found that patients who elevated their legs at 90 degrees experienced numbness and throbbing pain. However, they felt comfortable when elevating at a 30-degree angle. Another study found that elevating the legs at a higher degree does not correlate to a better or faster healing process. Instead, it can simply lead to more discomfort. Physical therapists and other medical professionals can teach you how to correctly elevate your injury.

  • Ask a medical professional how long you should elevate your injury every day.

    You want your injury to heal quickly, and elevation can be a great way to help you do that. However, your medical history may make elevation unsafe. Your physical therapist or doctor can evaluate your medical history and recommend or advise against elevating your injury every day. Your physical therapist may also recommend breaking up your elevation time into segments throughout the day, depending on your injury. 

Your injury can most likely benefit from routine elevation. However, the above steps can help you safely add elevation to your treatment plan. 

Find treatment for your musculoskeletal injury at Rehab Access PT

Keen to make sure your injury has the most effective treatment possible? Our team at Rehab Access Physical Therapy offers top-notch treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal injuries. Our free screenings can determine the type and severity of your injury. In addition, our physical therapists are adept at creating therapy plans that are unique to each patient’s needs. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help treat your injury in the greater New Orleans area.  We have locations in Metairie, Belle Chasse, and Gretna.

Book Your Personal Consultation  Call Us: 504-370-1733